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Esther Sperling Mayden

Martin and Barbara Mayden honor Esther Sperling Mayden, who was born in 1921 and grew up in a well-to-do family in Lubaczow, a small town in southern Poland, in Galitzia. During World War I, the town was under Austrian occupation; about 18,000 people lived there, 2,500 of them were Jews. The community had Zionist organizations, a school for girls (Bet Jacob), a Zabotinsky organization, and a Hertzel organization. During the war, Mayden survived the Holocaust despite being imprisoned, interrogated, and harassed; her incredible story has been written down in detail by her daughter-in-law Barbara Mayden.

During an interrogation by the Germans, she remembers seeing other victims shortly before they were to be killed. She writes, “They (German soldiers) took me through that hall, and I saw death, I mean I saw it. I imagined how death would look. Because I knew that these people were going to die. Once their faces were turned to the wall, I knew that they (the German soldiers) were going to come in and kill them all.” Mayden survived this encounter and other dangerous situations by hiding her identity as a Jew. At the end of the war, she met her future husband, Jack. Their wedding was attended by fifty people, all survivors of the Holocaust. They eventually settled in the United States.


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